Mercedes Sprinter Vs Ford Transit

There are a couple of options for a combination for space and weight movement when it comes to larger vans. The most popular option has always been the Ford Transit since the stone age but the Mercedes Sprinter is a worthy contender with strengths like: build quality, reliability, dealer network and a dependable workhorse stature that could match the Transit. For a decision on the Mercedes Sprinter Vs Ford Transit, let us dig a little deeper into the statistics.
 

The Transit is offered in three lengths while the Sprinter is offered in four.  

  Ford Transit   Mercedes Sprinter 
L1  N/A  2710mm 
L2  3044mm  3272mm 
L3  3494mm  4410mm 
L4  4217mm  4810mm 

 

Overall then, the Sprinter pips the Transit as it offers the shortest and longest options. The Sprinter also has three roof heights compared to the Transit’s two. That means the overall load volume of the largest Transit is 15.1 cubic metres and the largest Sprinter has a load volume of 17 cubic metres.  

Image: The Ford Transit will be offered as an EV by the end of the year (picture courtesy of Ford)

The Transit is available at Gross Vehicle Masses of 2900kg, 3100kg, 3300kg and 3500kg whereas the Sprinter is available at 3000kg and 3500kg. Both vehicles have heavier versions but different driver licensing and operational legislation applies to vans over 3500kg.  

Translating this to payloads, the Transit’s payload range is between 895kg and 1472kg whereas the Sprinter range is between 842kg and 1404kg. Larger and higher up vans tend to have a lower maximum payload overall due to their higher unladen weight- this means the L4H3 Sprinter maxes out at 1000kgs. 

Engine and drivetrain 

If you want powerful or economical or even electric- then both vans have you covered. The Ford utilises the same 2.0 litre ‘EcoBlue’ engine for the whole of the ICE range but in power outputs of 105PS, 130PS, 170PS and 185PS- with a class leading 415nm of torque produced from the 185PS. Currently if you want to go electric, you can’t with the Transit but that will be available in the coming months- but Ford do offer a mild hybrid Transit- as a kind of energy recovery system. You can opt for a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic with front or rear wheel drive. 

Image: The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is available in a variety of H and L options (picture courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

The Sprinter has three diesel engine options of 1950cc, 2143cc and 2987cc which have power outputs of 143hp, 150hp, 163hp, 170hp and 190hp. Like the Transit, the Sprinter is available with front or rear wheel drive and automatic gear boxes of 7 and 9 speed. If electric vehicles are buzzing around your mind, then the Sprinter may be the option for you at this point in time as the e-Sprinter. 

Specification Levels 

Both vans now come with a few different trim levels. The Transit can be configured as Leader, Trend or Limited plus the rugged Trail edition. Even the basic Leader comes with a 4.2-inch multimedia screen with Ford SYNC, including DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Some safety features including side wind mitigation, curvature control and emergency brake warning are available too. 

Move one step up to the Trend and you’ll see some parking sensors, power mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, a heated windscreen and cruise control. Go for the Limited and you get some exterior snazz like alloy wheels and a body-coloured bumper and air conditioning.  

Image: The Ford Transit has been a firm favourite for decades (picture courtesy of Ford)

The Transit Trail, surprisingly, is for the marginally off-road terrain. But it also means you get leather seats, black alloy wheels and air conditioning. With the FWD models you get a limited slip differential and RWD models become AWD. 

The Sprinter’s models are dubbed the Pure, Progressive and Premium.  

The base Pure model has a slight advantage over the base Transit as it includes Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto smartphone integration and a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen. There are also more safety features, such as attention assist, adaptive ESP, crosswind assist and active brake assist. The Pure also includes cruise control. 

When you climb the Sprinter range, the Progressive has a few more driver aids but the Premium has wheel trims, air conditioning and a parking package. 

Connectivity 

Manufacturers are building remote connectivity into their new vans. Ford and Mercedes-Benz have led the charge into this particular technology.  

FordPass Pro Connect uses a modem fitted to the Transit that works in conjunction with a smartphone app which allows a remote operator to check on the health of the vehicle (tyre pressures, AdBlue level and the time or distance to its next service etc) and sends alerts if it spots a problem. For more day-to-day stuff, you can remotely lock or unlock the van and with some models remote starting is available. For additional security, an alert can be sent to you if an unauthorised person tries to access the van. Over-air software updates can also keep your Transit as up to date as possible. 

Image: The Interior of the Sprinter is refined and minimal (picture courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz have called their system Mercedes Me. Most services are free to use and fitted as standard to all Sprinter vans. Mercedes Me offers similar functionality to the Ford system, including upcoming service requirements, remote vehicle diagnostics, software updates, vehicle tracking and locating, geofencing (which sends an alert if a van leaves a pre-defined area). The status checkers on the Ford are also available on the Mercedes, such as tyre pressures, fuel levels and remote locking/unlocking. 

Verdict 

The differences between the Sprinter and Transit can only be split with a Damascus steel blade which means the choice will mainly be down to personal preference. The only real difference for the here and now is if you want an electric version of the two vans as the electrified Transit is not yet available. When it is available though, it will mean big things for the e-van world- being the most popular ICE van.  

If you’re thinking of changing your van and going for a dependable classic, then contact Van Monkey and talk to us about the options we have on offer. 

As always, thanks for reading and we hope to speak to you again soon! 

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